AzHHA Priority Legislation Update and More by AzHHA

Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations

Today is the 53rd day of legislative session. The legislature has largely returned to committee work - now hearing bills from the opposite chamber. The last day to hear senate bills in house committee, and vice versa, is March 29th. 

Also, Republican small-group budget discussions began in the senate this week. The meetings reportedly provided an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget and an update on state revenue. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) reported that legislators will have a smaller surplus to work with as state tax collections were down $91 million in January.  It is unclear now much new spending the budget will include. While there is no shortage of appropriations bills, including the AzHHA-supported SB1354, there is also a strong desire among legislative leaders to pay down state debt and make a sizable deposit to the state rainy day fund.



Sponsored by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), SB1089 is intended to expand telemedicine coverage. The bill requires commercial health insurers to cover medical services provided by telemedicine if they cover the same service when provided in person.

AzHHA strongly supports the bill.

STATUS: The bill unanimously passed the Senate on February 25th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the house.

SB1352 Health Care Directives Registry; Transfer

Sponsored by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), SB1352 is intended to improve healthcare provider access to healthcare directives like living wills. The bill moves the Arizona Health Care Directive Registry from its current location at the Secretary of State to the state’s Health Information Exchange organization Health Current.

AzHHA strongly supports the bill. Increased provider access to healthcare directives is consistent with the policy priority of improving end-of-life care.

STATUS: The bill unanimously passed the Senate on February 27th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the House.


Sponsored by Senator Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) is intended to make a significant dent in the physician shortage affecting Arizona; especially in rural and medically underserved areas. As amended, the bill appropriates: 1) $20 million to AHCCCS for Graduate Medical Education (GME); 2) $11 million to U of A Medical  School; 3) $10 million for costs related to nurse training and to encourage retired doctors to return to practice; 4) $4 million to Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) for the primary care provider loan repayment program; and, 5) $5 million to the Board of Medical Student Loans.

Arizona has not appropriated state general funds for GME in approximately a decade. In 2018, AHCCCS provided more than $239 million in GME payments to Arizona hospitals. Of that amount, $205 million in federal matching funds were triggered by $88 million from local, county, tribal jurisdictions, hospitals and universities. If passed, more than $66 million ($20 million state funds + $46 million federal funds) will be available for medical residencies and rotations in rural and medically underserved areas.

STATUS: AzHHA strongly supports the bill. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 28-2 on March 4th. It is awaiting committee assignment in the House.



Sponsored by Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), HB2041 is intended as a state-level response to the nationally recognized issue of healthcare workplace safety. The bill: 1) Allows hospital employees, volunteers, and others who have been assaulted petition a court to require the assailant get a blood test; and, 2) Requires a hospital to report an assault to the ADHS within 72 hours of an assault.

UPDATE: The bill was amended by removing the statutory reporting requirement and replacing it with nonbinding language expressing the legislature’s intent to encourage hospitals to keep and report statistics on workplace safety to public policy researchers. AzHHA is now neutral on the bill. The bill passed the House 57-2 on February 26th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the Senate.


Sponsored by Represenative Nancy Barto (R-Cave Creek), HB2122 is intended to prohibit healthcare providers from placing do-not-resuscitate (D-N-R) order on minors against the will of the parents or guardians. As amended the bill: 1) Prohibits providers from implementing a D-N-R order without the written or oral consent of both parents or guardian of a minor; 2) If the parent or guardian orally consents to implement a D-N-R order, two witnesses other than the parent, guardian or physician must be present and willing to attest to the consent; and, 3) Prohibits a healthcare provider from withholding care even if, using reasonable medical judgement, they believe that care will harm the patient and/or cause unnecessary pain or suffering.

UPDATE:The bill was passed by the House 58-0 on March 4th. It was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee in the Senate.

AzHHA Welcomes New Board Member Julia Strange by AzHHA

Gina Hillis, Director of Governance and Special Assistant to the President

Last week, the AzHHA Board of Directors met and approved the Nominating Committee’s recommendation for a new member of the Board. Julia Strange, VP of Community Benefit at TMC HealthCare and CEO of Benson Hospital, was approved to serve as a Director of the AzHHA Board.

Ms. Strange has been very active in the Association’s policy and advocacy efforts and her knowledge and healthcare experience will be a great addition to the Board.  

Maricopa Health Matters by AzHHA

Jim Haynes, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Every three years, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, in collaboration with healthcare and community partners, conducts a Community Health Survey to develop a deeper understanding from residents about issues that relate to quality of life, availability of services, physical and mental health, and more. 

The survey is part of a larger review of community health. This goes beyond individual health to look at what is affecting the community overall, what health issues are affecting some communities more than others, and what other factors contribute to those issues. Your feedback will be used to help guide future community health improvement planning efforts.

The survey has 22 questions and takes about 10 minutes. We encourage all those living in Maricopa County to provide your feedback. Click here to take the survey.

Latest DataGen Reports by AzHHA

Ann-Marie Alameddin, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel

DataGen reports are sent to hospitals as a part of AzHHA membership. DataGen utilizes Medicare analytics to create hospital-specific reports that support hospital operations, finance and enhance quality initiatives.

The following DataGen reports were sent by AzHHA Analytics to our members:

  • Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Emergency Department Utilization Analysis                                                                                      Sent on 03/01/19

  • Medicare Hospital FFY 2020 Wage Index Analysis                    Sent on 02/12/19

  • Occupational Mix Data Analysis                                                 Sent on 02/19/19

If you would like a copy of your hospital report sent to you, please email AzHHA Analytics. For more information on the 2019 DataGen schedule for release of DataGen reports, click here

2019 Statewide Conference - Opioids: The Painful Truth by AzHHA

Vicki Buchda, Director of Care Improvement

Leaders and clinicians from acute care, rural and behavioral health hospitals, post-acute care, and community-based organizations are encouraged to attend The Painful Truth About Opioids at the Desert Willow Conference Center on March 21st. Objectives for this conference include:

  • Understand the opioid use disorder disease process, its natural course, and how treatment alters it.

  • Explore the National and Arizona landscapes of the opioid crisis.

  • Identify challenges and misperceptions about opioid use and treatment.

  • Discover interventions, resources, and clinical practices to improve person-centered care.

  • Share success stories and reinforce continued efforts to find solutions.

 For more details or to register, please click here.

Point of Pride: Ryan House by AzHHA

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Each year Ryan House hosts its largest fundraiser, The Ryan House Community Breakfast which provides guests with the opportunity to learn more about their mission and hear stories about their inspiring work with children who have life-limiting medical conditions. During the Breakfast, guests have the chance to contribute funds that will provide care, comfort and community to 300 children and families at Ryan House in the coming year. This year will be different from the rest as the Life and Legacy of Ryan Cottor will be celebrated. More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend Ryan House’s 11th Annual Community Breakfast on Friday, March 29th. If you would like to attend the Annual Community Breakfast or more information, click here.